THE BOARD of Governors (BoG) at IIT-Kanpur has not accepted the Senate’s recommendation to revoke the PhD thesis of a Dalit teacher, who had complained of harassment by four colleagues last year, on charges of plagiarism.
The Board instead authorised the institute director, Abhay Karandikar, to have the dissertation examined by a committee external technical experts. A decision, Karandikar told The Indian Express, will be taken after examining what the experts have to say.
The development comes after the HRD Ministry, as reported by The Indian Express Tuesday, opposed IIT-Kanpur Senate’s recommendation and advised the institute to impose a penalty on Subrahmanyam Sadrela as per UGC’s regulations on plagiarism instead.
As reported by The Indian Express on April 1, the IIT-Kanpur Senate, in its meeting held on March 14, decided to cancel the PhD dissertation of Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a teacher in IIT-Kanpur’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, on allegations of plagiarism, although the institute’s Academic Ethics Cell found “no reason to revoke the thesis”.
The plagiarism charges against Sadrela were made in an anonymous email sent to several faculty members on October 15, 2018 — two months after an inquiry by a retired High Court judge found the four teachers guilty of harassing him and violating the conduct rules of IIT-K and the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
IIT-Kanpur Director had referred the complaint to the Academic Ethics Cell, which found it “prima facie correct”.
However, the nine-member Ethics Cell’s report, submitted last November, advised against revocation of Sadrela’s thesis since “there is no allegation of plagiarism with regard to the scholar’s research work comprising his creative and technical part of the dissertation…”
However, on March 14, the Senate accepted the recommendation of the Senate Post Graduate Committee to revoke Sadrela’s thesis.